National Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

The National Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS), announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on 15 March 2018, will provide vouchers worth up to £3,000 for a small- or medium-sized business or £500 to residents to help with the costs of connecting to full fibre broadband.

The scheme is part of a wider government plan to get more homes and businesses connected to full fibre broadband.  For more information on how it works, click here.

Flu campaign begins across East Berkshire to target those who are eligible for the free vaccination

Commissioners in East Berkshire have launched their annual fight against flu working closely with partners, GPs and other health professionals.

Whilst we have been particularly spoilt with fabulous weather this year, the colder months are not too far away, thus it is important that we all take relevant steps to help keep well this winter.

Flu occurs every year and is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. Having your flu vaccination can help protect you and others.
Some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu. For them, it can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst case, flu can result in a hospital stay or even death.

The best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by having the vaccination before the flu season starts which is usually around December time
The flu vaccination is available free on the NHS for various groups and individuals that could be particularly vulnerable to complications.
This year, the following are eligible for the free flu vaccination:
 All children aged two to nine (but not ten years or older) on 31 August 2018
 Pregnant women
 Aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2019)
 Those in long-stay residential care homes
 Carers
 Healthcare workers
 People with learning disabilities and their carers
 Those aged six months to under 65 years of age with a serious medical condition which include chronic (long term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis; chronic heart disease, such as heart failure; chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five; chronic liver disease; chronic neurological disease such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease, or learning disability; diabetes; splenic dysfunction; weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment); morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above)

If you do not fall within any of the above groups, you can still have the vaccination by paying for it at your local pharmacist.
The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, extreme tiredness and aches and pains in the joints and muscles. Healthy individuals usually recover within a week, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death. If you do get the flu make sure you rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthily. Taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce any fever or discomfort, can also help.

Flu is caused by influenza viruses and not bacteria. Therefore, antibiotics will not help to treat it. However, if there are complications from getting flu, antibiotics may be needed.
When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they spread the flu virus in tiny droplets of saliva over a wide area. These droplets can then be breathed in by other people or they can be picked up by touching surfaces where the droplets have landed. You can prevent the spread of the virus by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and washing your hands frequently or using hand gels to reduce the risk of picking up the virus.
Associate Director for Nursing and Quality, Jo Greengrass, from the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Getting your flu vaccine is easy. Simply call and book an appointment with your doctor, midwife or pharmacy.
“Some GP surgeries across East Berkshire are offering flu clinics on certain dates/ times for those who are eligible for the free vaccine, so it would be worth you checking these details by either calling your practice or by visiting their website. Some surgeries are sending out invitations to attend these clinics.
“This year, a new vaccine is being offered to those aged 65 and over which has been shown to be more effective with older people and aims to give better protection which could reduce GP flu related consultations, hospital stays and prevent deaths in the worst cases. Your GP or Pharmacy are receiving this vaccine in three stages between now and November so if there is a slight delay, people should not worry as they will receive the vaccination in time.

She added: “If you have a long term condition such as asthma, diabetes, a neurological disease or chronic liver, kidney or lung disease, or indeed if you are pregnant, then protecting yourself against flu is vital.
“Flu can also be serious for young children and because they mix with so many family members they are called ‘superspreaders’. For these reasons, we feel it is really important for them to be vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them.”
This year, children in Reception, Years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (but not ten years or older) will be offered the free flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray in schools. Children aged two to three will continue to have their vaccine by their GP.
The strain of flu can change each year so even if you were vaccinated last year, you are being advised to vaccinate again this year.

NEW: Fire Safety & Risk Assessment Training for Community Buildings

Don’t miss this fantastic training opportunity and networking event for volunteers and groups that run community buildings and village halls in Berkshire.

With funding cuts and a huge squeeze on resources we know we are very fortunate to have secured the offer of Fire Safety training / Fire Risk assessment advice from the Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service on Thursday 8th November at The Barn, Purley on Thames from 10am.

This may be a ‘one off’ opportunity to update the safeguarding of your premises and those who use it. So please book your place and don’t miss out! To book a place please click here.

The training will cover:
 Practical session on Risk Assessing your community building
 National guidance in Fire Safety Risk Assessment – Small and Medium Places of Assembly.
 Using community buildings as Emergency Rest Centres
 Emergency Rest Centre – case study – what happened when our facility was used during an emergency

 Focus on maximum occupancy
 Opportunity to put Q & A’s to the Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue

This training is vital for anyone that is involved involved with running a building – Village Hall, Community building/centre, Church Hall, Scout Hall etc.

This training is supported by West Berkshire Council Adult Community Learning.

Help Families on Low Incomes stay warm this winter – Vote for Us!

The Community Council for Berkshire’s (CCB) is hoping to bag a cash boost to help families on low incomes stay warm this winter.

CCB’s has been shortlisted by the Tesco Bags of Help initiative to help tackle fuel poverty in low income families, by giving essential advice, guidance, and support to reduce their gas and electricity bills.

CCB’s Family Home Energy Advice Project tackles fuel poverty in low income families, giving them the skills and confidence they need to reduce their gas and electricity bills, through a variety of measures, enabling them to cut costs.

The funding from Tesco’s Bags for Help will enable CCB to deliver 1:1 drop-in advice sessions, targeting low-income families, at groups for families and children at Children’s Centres and other venues in West Berkshire and Slough.

Talk to Mother & Baby Group at The Curve Slough Jan 2018

Mother & Baby Group at The Curve Library in Slough

On evaluation, 72% of families say they will go on to compare costs and switch after a 1:1 consultation with Helen Dean, who co-ordinates this project.

Energyhelpline, a switching website, stated in December 2017 that during 2017 customers switching supplier saved an average of £217. Helen is also able to inform low-income families with young children of the Warm Home Discount of £140 they can claim. Advice is also given on grants for insulation and boiler repairs for low income families, and ways families can reduce the electricity they use at home.

Feedback from families after receiving a 1:1 advice session include:

“Great information for families” 

“Really useful advice and encouraged me to check my current deal”

“Money is tight as I am on maternity leave. I never thought I could save money by switching. I will be looking into comparing costs for my gas and electricity this evening.”

“These kind of sessions are so helpful – we don’t often get a chance to stop and think”

Along with the Family Home Energy Advice Project, two other local projects have been shortlisted by Tesco.

The winning project will receive £4,000, the runner-up £2,000 and third-placed scheme will receive £1,000.

From 1st September customers at the Newbury Tesco Extra, on Pinchington Lane and customers and in Slough at Tesco Extra Slough, Farnham Common express, Iver Heath Express and Wexham Road Express will be able to collect tokens when they pay for their shopping, and vote in store.

Tesco head of community Alec Brown said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers. It’s such a special scheme because it’s local people who decide how the money will be spent in their community.

“There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Hurst Morris People are inviting everyone to their free and friendly taster sessions.

Hurst Morris People are inviting everyone to their free and friendly taster sessions.

Squire (leader) Karen Ricketts said: “Reasons to come include: lots of fun, easy to learn dances, great live music and exercise that beats the gym.

“Then there’s a home-made cake break and a pub visit afterwards.

“Men and women, dancers and musicians are welcome. No experience of morris is needed.

We’re from all backgrounds and age groups.”

The tasters are on Thursdays September 20 and 27 from 8-10pm at Hurst Village Hall, School Road, Hurst. RG10 0DR.

New dancer Mel, said: “When I went to the taster sessions last year I simply thought it would be a novel way to spend an evening.

“Little did I realise that several months later I would be dressed in full kit, dancing in front of the public!

“For the first two or three months of practice I kept doubting my ability. The enthusiastic, patient and friendly welcome I received each week kept me going back.

“If you are s even lightly intrigued about Morris dancing, I would encourage you to come to a taster session. It’s good fun, sociable and a great way of keeping fit!

E-mail Karen at: or or phone Sue: 0776 1222 390.

More details are at and www.